OP-ED

IOR-ARC meeting in India cultivates economic cooperation

National Yemen

Media team invited by IOR-ARC pauses in front of Taj Mahal

By: Fakhri Al-Arashi

The Indian government – as represented by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs – recently concluded its hosting of the 12th conference for the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC). The meeting was held in the developing city of Gurgaon, which sits 20 km away from Delhi. Foreign ministers from IOR-ARC member countries gathered at the meeting after three days of discussion at the Oberio Hotel.

Through Indian Embassies in the IOR-ARC member countries, 41 journalists were invited to cover the conference meetings. From Yemen, the Indian Embassy in Sana’a selected the National Yemen and the Saba News Agency to represent Yemen’s media contingent in a one-week visit to India. Journalists from Australia, Bangladesh, Iran, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Emirates, and Seychelles were also selected to cover the IOR-ARC conference meetings.

A number of journalists converged on Gurgaon to share the facts of the ongoing advancement of more than 1.2 billion people in one nation, as well as to cover IOR-ARC developments. During the meetings, the journalists present witnessed smoothly run sessions aided by very professional arrangements and accommodations. On display were the high capabilities and professionalism of the Indian government as it took the responsibility for bringing a number of countries together to prepare the Indian Ocean Rim for facing multiple threats such as piracy and to face a variety of economic hurdles.

The hosted media teams from the IOR-ARC member nations were treated kindly and were left impressed with India’s harmony and its blend of heritage and modernism. The journalist were given the opportunity to see the ancient history of Islamic civilization in monuments at Delhi – Humanyu’s Tomb, Qutub Minar and the Taj Mahal in Agra; the progress of export technology as seen at NIIT,  a leading global talent development corporation which provides a skilled manpower pool which meets global industry requirements; the well-established RD facility  Ranbaxy, India’s largest pharmaceutical company; The Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA), a non-partisan, autonomous body dedicated to objective research and policy studies on all aspects of defense and security; CII, the Confederation of Indian Industry, which works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the growth of industry in India, partnering industry and government through advisory and consultative processes; and Amity University, a leading private education group.

Apart from the orientations, briefings, and official IOR-ARC meetings, India is a country teeming with for tourist destinations, business, trade, shopping, technology, education, health, culture and fine dining. The Trident Gurgaon staff facilitated the mission of the delegated journalists with courtesy and responsiveness. If you have the opportunity to visit India in the near future, you will discover the people’s top priority, that of serving their country first.

Yemen could learn from India’s successful and rich Federalist experience, and success in building a united country. India’s lessons could help Yemen as it approaches its National Dialogue Conference, with the possibility of basing the country’s future on federal states, equal opportunities and a balanced approach to the use of national resources. Furthermore, Yemen could stand to follow the example of Indian officials, who are often humble in every possible way. The misuse of government posts only serves to pull Yemen backwards.

The 19 IOR-ARC member countries provided an effective format for the media members present at the conference to interact with the 19 member countries and report on news stories from the Indian Ocean Rim. Mr. K V Bhagirath, Secretary General of the IOR-ARC, agreed to set up an email link for all journalists present at Gurgaon and in Bengaluru in 2011 so that they may stay informed about issues related to the IOR-ARC.

The IOR-ARC aims to create a platform for trade, socio-economic and cultural cooperation in the Indian Ocean Rim area. It is a heterogeneous association, comprised of diverse cultural, linguistic, and religious groups in the Indian Ocean littoral states.

The Indian Ocean is the world’s third largest Ocean. It sees half of the world’s container ships, one-third of its bulk cargo traffic, and two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments. The IOR-ARC was launched in Mauritius on March 6-7, 1997, with regional cooperation as its central focus.